One of two views of Venice by a follower of Apollonio Domenichini, this one showing the Grand Canal looking east from Campo San Vio towards the Bacino – £36,000 at Spencelayhs.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

After buying the bureau, dealer Steven Fyfe of Spencelayhs of Cambridgeshire had come for, he then negotiated the purchase of the two very dusty oil paintings.

He said: “I attended a property in Belgravia to collect a 19th century William and Mary-style walnut bureau on stand which was advertised online, and after enquiring if they had any other items that they were considering selling I was quite shocked to see these two pictures.

“Immediately the oils stood out as mid-18th century. I then was told that in fact the paintings once belonged to the sellers’ ancestor, the British illustrator and landscapist Cecil Gordon Lawson (1849-82) who resided at 15 Cheyne Walk, London, and was a neighbour and friend to Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti.”


One of two views of Venice by a follower of Apollonio Domenichini, this one a view of the Grand Canal looking west with the Scalzi and San Simeone Piccolo – £36,000 at Spencelayhs.

The paintings, relined in the 19th century by picture restorer George Morrill (c.1812-65), are two views of Venice’s Grand Canal.

Fyfe studied the pictures and completed his own research, eventually attributing the works to a follower of The Master of The Langmatt Foundation Views, an artist now known to be Apollonio Domenichini (1715-70).

(Domenichini was known as the ‘Master of the Langmatt Foundation Views’ after the artist’s seven views of Venice in the Langmatt Foundation, Zurich.)

Spencelayhs will now offer the pictures for £36,000. And of course the 19th century bureau is also for sale – at a price of £1395.

Fyfe added: “To find the bureau on Gumtree is fab but the fact it led me to these fantastic artworks just shows you what’s still out there.”